1993 Clyde McPhatter
- Most known for being the leader of the band “Drifters”
- Legends of American Music honors many black and female artists, a huge advancement for diversity
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Legends of American Music (Rock ‘n’ roll/Rhythm & Blues)
Value: 29c First-Class postage rate
First Day of Issue: June 16, 1993
First Day City: No official First Day City. Both Cleveland, Ohio and Santa Monica, California held cancellation ceremonies, but release was nationwide on the First Day of Issue.
Quantity Issued: 14,285,715
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Format: Semi-jumbo sheet stamp; printed in panes of 35 with six other stamps; 5 columns across and seven rows down.
Printing Method: Photogravure
Why the stamp was issued: The Clyde McPhatter stamp was issued as part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll/Rhythm & Blues se-tenant set of seven. This was the first full set in the Legends of American Music Series.
About the stamp design: The designer of the stamps was John Berkey who also designed the Otis Redding and Dinah Washington stamps in this set. Art direction was by Howard Paine.
Calligrapher Julien Water did the typography (lettering) on the sheet’s top selvage. The selvage lettering includes the full name of the Legends of /American Music Series in small upper-case letters. The Rock ‘n’ Roll/Rhythm & Blues lettering is in and edgy, exciting typeface befitting the legends of two important musical styles.
Special design details: All sevenstamps on the Rock ‘n’ Roll/Rhythm & Blues sheet, including Clyde McPhatter, have some design differences from their booklet-format stamps issued the same day. There is no thin frame line around the images on the sheet stamps, while there is one on the booklet stamps. The line of type that runs up the left side of the sheet stamp is longer that on the booklet stamps. Some colors on the sheets are less vibrant as well. Clyde McPhatter doesn’t have the ripped ticket stub effect that the Elvis and Bill Haley stamps do.
First Day Ceremonies: First Day ceremonies were held in Cleveland, Ohio (site of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame) and at the Santa Monica Pier in California with Dick Clark, former host of American Bandstand as the emcee. These weren’t official First Day Cities because the stamps went on sale nationwide on the same day.
About the Legends of American Music Series: TheLegends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993 and ran until 1999. More than 70 artists are represented from all styles of music: rock and roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk. In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include bandleaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, plus conductors and lyricists.
The Legends of American Music Set was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.
The 29c “young Elvis” – #2721, kicked off the series in a big and very public way. Its design was voted on by over one million Americans, about 75% of whom favored the young Elvis over the “old Elvis” version.
History the stamp represents:
When Clyde McPhatter joined Billy Ward and the Dominoes in 1950, he began a music career that would eventually lead to him becoming one of the biggest names of the rhythm & blues era. In 1953, he left the band to form his own group, the “Drifters.” That name was chosen because all the members had drifted from one group to another before joining together. The Drifters became one of the most popular groups in the rhythm & blues field.
Although he is best known as the leader of the Drifters, McPhatter actually recorded most of his best work as a solo artist. He went into the Army in 1955, and the following year was discharged. However, rather than returning to the Drifters, he chose instead to concentrate on working as a soloist. His recordings of “Seven Days” and “Treasure of Love” became national pop hits, and helped him gain acceptance among white audiences, as well as the traditional rhythm & blues audience.
In 1958, he achieved his greatest success with his recording of “A Lover’s Question”, which climbed to the number one spot on the U.S. singles chart, selling more than one million copies. He toured widely during 1958 and 1959, and in 1968 his albums were re-released in England as part of a rock “revival.”